Posted June 3, 2013 by KC Nwosu in VIDEO GAMES

Why Use a White Actress to Portray a Non-White Game Character? [Video]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-mOE2qlOKY[/youtube]Remember Me from Capcom and the development house Dontnod recently released a live action trailer to advertise the game (shown above).


Do you see a resemblance?

I can only assume that the decision was made on a marketing team to hire a white actress despite the lead character being non-white in order to resonate more with the perceived demographic of young white males. It strikes me as a sign of how little gaming advertisers really know about their market or maybe even how little they care. But it’s just a single trailer and in the end the actual game character still remains a fresh face in a sea of sameness, right? Well the voice actress responsible for bringing Nilin to life is also white. Kezia Burrows is a Welsh voice actress who instantly gives Nilin a comparability to Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft due to them both sounding British. Again I suspect this decision was to try to lessen the impact of Nilin’s foreignness to try and appeal to gamers who may have been endeared to a particular kind of female protagonist in the past and possibly won’t accept another.

Kezia Burrows

Kezia Burrows the voice of Nilin

I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world to have a white person voice a non-white character it’s possible she was simply the best for the job. After all It’s not really clear what Nilin’s race is supposed to be anyhow, she could easily just be mixed which is something mainstream media does a lot to try to make everyone happy. But honestly I personally do think that had the voice actress also been non-white or at least less of a Lara Croft copycat there could have been something even more endearing about this new character that the developers want players to care about and become familiar with. So yes I am disappointed that what originally seemed to look like a shift for more unique and varied characters in gaming was something that really only existed on the surface. Whether it was due to pressure from publishers or just a half baked attempt to stand out, there’s a lot that this character’s treatment leaves to be desired.

Remember me is out tomorrow on Tuesday June 4th.